The world is focusing in on the situation unfolding between Turkey and the Kurdish militia Kurdistan Workers Party, (PKK) but it doesn't mean things have stopped on the ground in Syria.
An important battle's been raging this week, as a mixed bag of rebel groups and al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra wrestled with Syrian government forces for control of several villages in the Idlib countryside in northwest Syria. This has been a slow burn battle — opposition fighters began shooting homemade rockets at government posts in these villages last week. But a final push led Jaish al-Fateh that began Monday has drastically changed the tide in the embattled province, with some of the last remaining government-held areas falling to rebel groups in less than 24 hours. Here's the breakdown.
Violent clashes erupted Monday night, according to activists and analysts, with Jaish al-Fatah pushing against government forces in the village of Frikka.
#Idlib’s Jaish al-Fateh made more ground last night, taking Tel al-Hamka // Now reports “500” SAA soldiers are fleeing Frika with vehicles.— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) July 28, 2015
By Tuesday morning, rebels had reportedly taken all but a small swath of territory in the Idlib countryside from the government, overrunning almost 20 checkpoints in the process.
By Tuesday afternoon, analysts said the Syrian government had lost hold of Idlib province completely, as Frikka fell to rebel groups.
This is a fierce blow to Damascus, who has now lost entirely their foothold in the northwest province where, back in March, another gritty battle saw the namesake city and province capital city of Idlib fall to the rebels.
Here's what the last 18 hour offensive looked like in the province. The green area represents rebel forces, while the red represents the Syrian government. Maps via Twitter.
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